Leaving Home to Go Home

Home – the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.

Retirement in IdahoCan you have two homes? Can you have two places in which you live; eat, sleep, recreate and connect? Of course, you can have two houses with the furniture, patio, driveway, etc. That’s easy enough. But can you have two homes? Can you have two places in which your domestic affections are centered?

The very thought of one’s home conjures up images of comfort and security, a place of refuge and sanctuary. Home is where you take off your shoes and let your hair down. It’s where you take down the walls that surround your everyday life and be yourself. Home is not only a place of residence, but it also acts as a safe harbor from the world. A man’s home is his castle as they say.

Imagine leaving home – a painful experience to be sure. It’s like pulling up roots, leaving behind your contentment and all that’s familiar, jolting you out of your comfort zone. You have to say goodbye to friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances and relocate to a different place. It’s hard – and it’s a little bit scary.

Now, imagine leaving home twice a year. Two goodbyes, two sendoffs, two painful root pulling encounters to contend with every year, year after year. This is the life of a Snowbird, always leaving, always returning, and always going home.
But for a Snowbird, where is home exactly?

Three weeks ago Diana and I left the comfort of our home in Mesa, Arizona and made the two day trek up north to our summer home in Idaho. We packed up our car, buttoned up our house and took off. This has become second nature to us. We have done it so many times. Through experience, the school of hard knocks and sheer dumb luck. We have learned what to leave and what to take. What to pack into the car and what to leave behind.

Over our Snowbird years we have come to think of things in pairs. “Two of everything” is a good philosophy to have as a Snowbird. Two laptops, one up north, one down south. Two coffee makers, one up north, one down south. Two sets of underwear, one up north, one down south. It just has to be that way. Otherwise, you spend two weeks wrapped around your move; doing nothing but packing and unpacking.

Retirement in Las VegasFor several years I always packed in our car a small cardboard box with some personal belongings, books, cd’s, etc. Faithfully I lugged this small box back and forth between Idaho and Arizona every fall and every spring, thinking that there was something valuable in there that I just couldn’t do without. After three or four years of doing this I noticed that I wasn’t even opening the box once I got to my destination. The darn thing would sit in my office closet for six months untouched. Finally one spring I came to my senses and went through the box, ending up donating most of the contents to goodwill. The Snowbird travel experience teaches you to pack light – for your own good.

Also, there is nothing more annoying than to arrive at one home, only to find that you forgot to pack something essential. The “two of everything” mantra takes care of that. The less you pack, the less likely you will end up forgetting something. After many years of trial and error, we have found that just basically packing for our overnight trip is all that is needed.

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting. My wife and I are mulling this over on where and how to retire in the next five or so years. A home base and corporate apt. renting in a different city every year vs two homes in fixed locations. The thought of packing and unpacking all our clothes and then some, is a hindrance. The appeal of having two sets of everything in two locations is good, too, but more expensive because you also have two sets of utilities, cable, internet, etc, along with clothes and other stuff. Plus, money tied up in two homes that could otherwise generate dividend income. Lots to consider, but the ease of owning two sets of everything seems appealing. Life should be interesting, but also simple, the older we get.

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